In the five years since bitcoin was created, the hunt for them has consumed enough electricity to keep the Eiffel Tower lit for 260 years. One man’s way around the utility bills: the family power plant.
Alex Wilhelm is a bitcoin miner, one of thousands who use computers to solve complex math problems and get their hands on the digital currency. The expatriate living in Tokyo has 30 remote-controlled servers mining virtual gold in an old brick building in the Austrian countryside. His father is donating the electricity, which comes from a water-driven turbine that survived a World War II bombing raid and once powered the entire village of Tattendorf, where Wilhelm grew up.